2-alarm fire destroys house in southern Illinois

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on May 16, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 24 at 4:52 AM

7524 Peacock Site Road New Athens, IL 62264

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NEW ATHENS, Illinois (KMOV.com) -- A two-alarm fire gutted a house in New Athens, Illinois Wednesday morning.

According to police, the fire started at a home in the 7500 block of Peacock Site Road around 9:30 a.m.

Two area departments responded to the call.

“Upon arrival we had flames coming out of the roof already. The roof was in so we went to defense mode only and fought it from the outside,” said New Athens Fire Chief David Unverferth.

Firefighters eventually extinguished the flames. The house was completely destroyed.

Officials said the homeowner, son of New Athens Mayor Gary Kearns, his fiancé and her 13-year-old daughter lived in the house which he’d bought from his grandparents. All three were gone when the fire broke out.

The fire started a week after an arsonist lit his sixth fire in three weeks in nearby Freeburg, causing $500,000 in damage.

Authorities say they believe the latest fire was accidental, but called in the state fire marshal to investigate due to the recent string of arson fires in the area.

“You hope it isn’t somebody running around our neighborhood. It’s been Smithton, Belleville and Freeburg and stuff. So far we’ve been lucky,” said Gary Kearns.

The results of the fire marshal’s investigation will not be known for at least a couple of weeks.

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